The index is based on a survey conducted between April and May of respondents aged 18-64 in 16 Asia-Pacific markets: Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Overall, consumer confidence in Asia-Pacific improved by 1.2 index points to 63.3 index points, compared to the second half of 2012. The indicator of employment showed the largest increase of 3.2 index points (from 59.4 to 62.6 index points), followed by the stock market (from 59.0 to 61.3 index points), economy (from 60.0 to 61.6 index points) and regular income (from 73.8 to 74.2 index points). However, quality of life declined by 1.5 index points (from 58.1 to 56.6 index points).
Ten out of 16 Asia-Pacific markets recorded positive improvements, led by Myanmar (96.0 index points), India (82.0 index points), Indonesia (81.0 index points) and the Philippines (79.9 index points).
Japan recorded the most substantial improvement in consumer confidence since the second half of 2005 (63.0 index points), surging 37.0 index points from the previous survey to 60.7 index points.
The overall score for Taiwan more than doubled to 52.4 index points, while South Korea saw an increase of 14.8 to 53.5 index points.
“The large jumps in consumer confidence seen in Japan can be attributed to the government’s measures to tackle deflation, whereas in the case of South Korea it can be linked to the new government’s strong measures to boost the domestic economy, particularly in property-related tax cuts,” said Pierre Burret, region head for Asia-Pacific at MasterCard Advisors.
On the other hand, the survey shows Bangladesh dropped 39.5 index points to 22.2, underpinned by political uncertainty, a series of strikes and crisis in the key garments sector. Vietnam also showed a decrease of 16.1 index points to 58.4.
Meanwhile a separate MasterCard survey of ethical shopping for 2012 shows that 66.4 per cent of the respondents in these markets (excluding Bangladesh and Myanmar) were likely to spend or pay more for brands if they were environmentally-friendly. In addition, 62.6 per cent of them prefer brands that do business based on fair-trade principles, and 62.9 per cent tend to pay more for brands donating a portion of their sales to a good cause.
Chinese respondents (83.3 per cent) are the most likely to buy ethically or responsibly, followed by Thailand (76.7 per cent) and the Philippines (76.4 per cent). Indonesian (72.4 per cent) and Vietnamese (71.4 per cent) respondents are also likely to say that they are willing to open their wallets for brands that are deemed to be socially responsible and ethical.
The least-likely to consider social-responsibility among the 14 countries surveyed were Japan (35 per cent), Australia (49.2 per cent), and New Zealand (58.4 per cent).